There seem to be quite a few things that everybody knows are good for you, and yet nobody likes doing.
You know, things like: Exercising daily. Staying away from fried foods. Being nice. Taking your medicine. Sleeping until noon.
Ooooh, here’s another thing that NOBODY likes to do that I’ve been doing a lot of lately:
Trying new things.
Whoa man, trying new things really SUCKS.
Anytime you try something new, your poor, flabby, brain is catapulted out of the la-z boy chair of “routine” only to land directly on the nordic track of “growing more synaptic pathways for my neurons to communicate better.”
And, based on my experience, that process can very easily be PHYSICALLY painful!
Yep, it actually hurts my brain to learn. Not only that, I’ve also noticed it hurts a lot more to grow pathways that conflict with old pathways I’ve already got!
I can only imagine (fortunately!) how terrible it would be to get in some kind of gruesome camel crash that squishes my brain in such a way that a vast swath of those comfortable brain pathways are completely WIPED OUT.
Assuming it was even possible, I bet it’d take years of painful and frustrating rehabilitation, like, just to learn how to walk again. Do you remember how frustrating and painful it was the first time you learned? I don’t, but based on my mom’s stories of my tantrums, I doubt I’d want to go through it again!
Well, every time you try something new, your brain has to go through at least a little bit of that uncomfortable process, and I know I at least subconsciously avoid it like some kind of (subconscious) diarrhea!
Nonetheless, I’ve recently started taking surfing and ping-pong classes (two separate classes, sadly), and man, it’s annoying being that bad at things. I should have just taken it easy and signed up for Dr. Mario classes. Or maybe a class at something I’m really awesome at… aw yeah, the ladies know what I’m talking about!
Not the Point
Okay, the point of this post was NOT (just) that I’m taking surfing and ping-pong classes.
Let me ‘splain.
I’m kind of a developer. I pretty much just develop for DreamHost, in Perl, with Emacs, on Windows (XP). I’ve been doing it like that for over a decade, and to be modest, I’m pretty awesome at it… aw yeah, the ladies already knew that!
It’s a widely-held belief that being an awesome programmer is exactly like being an awesome athlete. Not just in that you can get any cheerleader you want, but that even if your specialty is Perl (or basketball), you’re not going to have too hard a time if you decide to take up C++ (or other important sports).
Which is why I decided five weeks ago to go ahead and just churn out all the fantastic iPhone applications I’d been dreaming of!
I really knew nothing about iPhone development. In fact, it took me an hour or so to realize that you need OS X to develop iPhone apps.
So, my first day was spent “hackintoshing”, and it was relatively easy, and everything worked how the people on the nice Internet had said, and the only thing broken was sound didn’t work (like they said it wouldn’t).
At that point, it’d been kind of a fun project. It was somewhat new stuff, but I’ve installed operating systems by following instructions on a forum before, so my brain really wasn’t growing too many new pathways.
To make a long story short, I soon thereafter realized in order for me to program iPhone apps, I had to switch to developing for the iPhone, in Objective C, with XCode, on OS X.
And. Every. Single. One. Of. Those. Changes. HURT.
Just trying to use OS X, and having to re-learn keyboard shortcuts, how to open programs, how to open folders, how windows work, how to page down, where system settings are, and so on and so on was enough to almost make me run crawling back to the warm bosom of panel.dreamhost.com.
But, I persevered. And then I spent a lot of time reading documentation. And searching for tutorials. And slowly taking apart the example applications.
And finally, after about a week, I had actually finished my first app! It was called Ponger and it was well under 100K. All it did was show an image of a ping pong paddle on your iPhone that when you swung it, made ping pong noises!
Pretty fricking sweet. The inspiration was whilst lobby ponging we noticed that iPhones themselves actually make pretty good paddles (go ahead, try it at home). In fact, I was this close to making Ponger a more authentic “paddle simulator” by not even making it play noises (the noises were a lot harder than you think… and not just because my sound didn’t work)!
Well, I (triumphantly) submitted my app to App-le for inclusion in the App Store (but free) on August 12th, just getting it in in time to catch the ping-pong panedemonium that was sure to be incited by the Beijing Olympics (remember those?)!
In fact, I also started writing this blog post way back then, but I wanted to hold off on publishing it until Ponger was approved so everybody could enjoy it for themselves!
Date: Sat, Sep 6, 2008 at 4:40 PM
Subject: Ponger: Application Submission Feedback
We’ve reviewed your application Ponger. We have determined that this application is of limited utility to the broad iPhone and iPod touch user community, and will not be published to the App Store.
If you choose to provide additional features that utilize iPhone functionality, your application can be reconsidered for the App Store after you resubmit a new binary to iTunes Connect.
The current version of Ponger may be very appropriate to share with friends and family, and we recommend you review the Ad Hoc method on the Distribution tab of the iPhone Developer Portal for details on distributing this application among a small group of people of your choosing.
Worldwide Developer Relations
SON OF A!
I would have posted this earlier, but I’ve spent the entire last week throwing my HACKINTOSH.
Anyway, the moral of the blog post is, “Trying new things hurts your brain, so don’t.”
Or wait, maybe the moral is, “It’s not too late for Josh to relate this to DreamHost a tiny bit if he just says,
Hey, we’ve now made a “live demo” of our panel at https://demo.dreamhost.com/ so all you potential Happy DreamHost Customers can now try one more new thing without it hurting quite so much, and we now make the first week of DreamHost PS FREE so you don’t have to worry about money while you deal with all that brain hurt as you find your appropriate resource level!